October 23

Trafalgar and Australia: 200 Years

News of the victory of Nelson at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805 did not reach Australia until 11 April 1806.

The victory was of singular importance to the development of what was to become an independent Australian nation.

It was a victory for freedom of the seas, and although not definitive until Waterloo, a victory for parliamentary constitutional government over dictatorship.

It ensured that the future settlement of this land would be by the British, and not other European powers, especially the French.

Whatever the victory did, or did not do for our cuisine, it did mean that we Australians would all speak one language, have similar legal systems and all enjoy what no other colonies did, self government under the Westminster system.

It also meant that our predecessors were free, as no other colonists were, to decide to join together into a Commonwealth of Australia, and under a Constitution which we were given power to change!

Neither Bonaparte nor his successors would have tolerated this.

Until next time,

David Flint


Napoleon, Nelson, Trafalgar, Waterloo

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